Picturing development goals in Lao PDR

13 November 2015 

#Namkan2030 photo contest winners announced to mark the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 60 years of Lao PDR and UN partnership.

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Winners of the youth focused photo competition successfully and creatively depicted the Sustainable Development Goals in Lao PDR . Photo: UN in Lao PDR/Oscar Castellanos 

A photo of a seedling gently cradled in the palm of a hand has won the '#Namkan2030' youth mobile phone photo competition organised by the United Nations in Lao PDR to raise awareness for the Sustainable Development Goals, 17 goals that form the bedrock of a new global development agenda. The winning photo was taken by Mr. Phonephisith Nanthalath, 23, from Vientiane Capital who is passionate about climate change action in Lao PDR.

The second and third prizes were awarded to Mr. Phimpa Phetsomphone, 18, and Ms. Phakinda Khanthavilay, 26, from Vientiane Capital who pictured education for all and gender equality.

The announcement was made today by United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Kaarina Immonen at an awards ceremony held at Vientiane Centre. Ms. Immonen said: "The winning photos beautifully capture the spirit of cooperation needed to achieve Lao PDR's development goals by 2030."

Mr. Phoonsab Thevongsa, a Lao professional photographer recognised internationally for his work, was one of the judges in the panel that selected the winning entries. Explaining his winning selection at the awards ceremony, Mr. Thevongsa said, "Climate action is needed in Lao PDR if we are to protect our inspiring, natural environment. This photo genuinely captures the beauty and fragility of nature and evokes a sense of need to take care of the environment. As a professional photographer I was impressed the most by this image."

The competition, which was run entirely on social media, also included a 'people's choice award' category, where the winner was chosen by public vote on Facebook. The winning photo in this category was taken by Mr. Kingmano Douangphachanla, 17, who creatively pictured the importance of education and learning through a student's eyes. His photo, which received over 570 votes is linked to SDG 4: ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Ms. Immonen explained the meaning of the competition theme: "Namkan2030 means the UN and the people of Lao PDR are working together to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 2030 is the target year for the achievement of these new ambitious goals that are set to move the world towards a sustainable future.

The SDGs were adopted by all UN Member States in September 2015. They are 17 ambitious targets focusing on ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice and addressing climate change.

"In the next 15 years Lao PDR will grow, change and evolve rapidly. This growth means the opportunity for positive and transformative improvements to the economy, the environment and most importantly, the lives of the people of Lao PDR", Ms. Immonen added.

The awards ceremony was also attended by United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador and Lao celebrity Ms. Alexandra Bounxouei who was also a member of the competition judging panel and donated her latest album, My Radio to all completion winners.

Over 80 people entered the competition and more than 1000 people voted online for the 'people's choice awards.

The photo competition was sponsored by local businesses Trans Express, Datacom, Salana Boutique Hotel and Beeline who support engaging Lao youth in local development issues.

The winning photos from both categories as well as a montage of all entries is currently on display at Vientiane Centre, together with a United Nations photo exhibition showcasing development gains of the 60 years of cooperation between Lao PDR and the United Nations, entitled "Working together for Lao PDR". Vientiane Centre are supporting the exhibition which will be open to the public until 20 November, 2015.The Government and United Nations in Lao PDR commemorate the 70th year of existence of the United Nations and the 60th anniversary of the country’s partnership with the UN with a series of events.

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